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  1. #1
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    Precision shifting

    Hey

    What, in your opinion/knowledge, is the element in a bike's anatomy that holds more responsability to precisely shift?

    I'm under the impression that if you have reasonable quality derailleurs and controls, with the ability to stay tuned, cables that after the first rides keep static, it all comes down to chain and cogs.

    If I were to replace just one part and dramatically improve the shifting what would be your advice?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by aristocompasso
    Hey

    What, in your opinion/knowledge, is the element in a bike's anatomy that holds more responsability to precisely shift?

    I'm under the impression that if you have reasonable quality derailleurs and controls, with the ability to stay tuned, cables that after the first rides keep static, it all comes down to chain and cogs.

    If I were to replace just one part and dramatically improve the shifting what would be your advice?
    Shifter cables and housing is #1.

  3. #3
    wim
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    ?

    Quote Originally Posted by aristocompasso
    If I were to replace just one part and dramatically improve the shifting what would be your advice?
    Impossible to answer that without knowing why you feel the need to "dramatically improve the shifting." In other words, what's the problem?

  4. #4
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    If I could, I'd probably strengthen the derailleur return springs somewhat. The light action that's so popular on modern stuff is inadequate for pulling the wire back firmly. The resulting sticktion results in sluggish upshifting, and imprecise trim.
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  5. #5
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    That's hard to say..

    The driveline all has to work together. For the most economic I'd start with replacing the inner cables. I start with the cheapest fix first, and work my way up. Sometimes a simple little adjustment like cable tension will do a lot..if you are looking for the cheapest fix it would be cables. But it does no good to replace just your cables if your chain and cassette are toast. Another thing is to just give your whole driveline a real good cleaning.
    Clean-lubed-oiled. Cleaness goes a long way.

  6. #6
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    Well "dramatically" was perhaps a too strong word for the case.

    My bike is equiped with campa veloce 9sp, except the cassette which is from the chorus line.
    The veloce is a fantastic group for the money and I don't really worry about the slightly extra weight compared to high end record or super record.

    When everything is tuned the system shifts smoothly, quickly effortlessly. I really couldn't ask for more and would rather spend the money on wheels and brakes.

    The only thing I think that needs improvement is the shifting with higher tension on the chain, like when pedalling vigorously on flats, when standing on the pedals or when climbing. Of course there is the need to learn how to shift well, but having what I consider decent skills, sometimes I still have to battle with the gears.
    On the other hand I can't really compare it to how a higher end group behaves on these situations.

  7. #7
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    Replace frames with internal cable routing with frames which do not.

    Wash the under-BB cable guide of all the drink mix and road grime.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by iliveonnitro
    Shifter cables and housing is #1.
    +1

    I wrench bikes part time and in 2 out of 3 cases of poor shifting, the problem is corrected with new cables/housings.

  9. #9
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    When all else fails, double-check that your derailleur hanger is straight. Nobody ever seems to check on road bikes anymore.
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  10. #10
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    There is a diff in shifting between the Veloce the upper models. I have old Record (02) group on one bike and '07 Chorus UT on the other. The '07 Chorus has a 'firmer feel" (for lack of a better word or words). I can't tell much difference between a Chorus and Veloce cassette. Technique will come will experience. Timing is the key.

    You should go to the Park site and check on various adjustments..'higher adjustment on the chain' could mean tightening the rear derailleur down tube adjustment screw a couple a couple of clicks..cables will stretch a little..and things work better after they have some miles on them..

  11. #11
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinosaur
    There is a diff in shifting between the Veloce the upper models. I have old Record (02) group on one bike and '07 Chorus UT on the other. The '07 Chorus has a 'firmer feel" (for lack of a better word or words). I can't tell much difference between a Chorus and Veloce cassette. Technique will come will experience. Timing is the key.

    You should go to the Park site and check on various adjustments..'higher adjustment on the chain' could mean tightening the rear derailleur down tube adjustment screw a couple a couple of clicks..cables will stretch a little..and things work better after they have some miles on them..
    whoa...between you and the guy from NY that wants to re-engineer derailleur springs because he thinks he knows more about it than (campy/shimano/sram, take your pick)...these responses have some pretty weak advice.
    if your shifting is 'sticky' as NY was talking about, it's most likely cables/housing or like spunout said, the bb cable guide is dirty. there are many fixes that will work before trying to needlessly make a derailleur spring stronger.
    as for dinosaurs shifting, the (07)chorus most likely feels firmer because it's newer, and the springs/carrier ring aren't worn as much as the older (02)record. but, we don't know, because he hasn't provided any details about how either shifter has been maintained. the internals are the same, save for materials used to make record lighter. and then it sounds like your advice is to adjust the derailleur cable so it has too much tension...on purpose...and that it will 'work better after they have some miles on them'. wow...i hope you don't work in a shop and adjust shifting like that, and then accept money for the work.
    there is lots of good advice on this forum, and lots of bad. i hope the OP can sift thru the bad and make use of the good.
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    oh, those belong in another forum

  12. #12
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by aristocompasso
    The only thing I think that needs improvement is the shifting with higher tension on the chain, like when pedalling vigorously on flats, when standing on the pedals or when climbing. Of course there is the need to learn how to shift well, but having what I consider decent skills, sometimes I still have to battle with the gears.
    As an old dude with many years of friction shifting behind me, I can relate to that. In those days. A shift simply couldn't be made with tension on the chain. One had to just stop putting the power to the pedal for the moment of the shift. Thing was, though, that you learned how to do that faster and faster. After a while, it became second nature to shift lightning fast while reducing power to the pedals for and at the exact same moment.

    When I switched to brake-shifters, gates, ramps, pins and chopped-off teeth, I first thought that all that now was useless knowledge. Not so—that brief moment (much less than 1 second or perhaps 90 degrees of one crank rotation) of easing up on power while shifting at the exact same time still comes in handy when shifting on steep hills, especially while out of the saddle. I'm sure you know all this, but it might be helpful to practice this every so often with the goal of perfecting your shift-and-power-reduction timing.

    Add-on: I had to think hard exactly how I momentarily reduce power to the pedal for a shift while out of the saddle and climbing: for that very brief shift moment, I put about the same amount of pedal force on the back pedal than I do on the front (power) pedal. In terms of biomechanics, it's sort of what you do when coasting out of the saddle with the cranks horizontal.

    Agree with everyone on the mechanical end of this. But if everything is in good order on your bike, I don't know where I would look. Might not hurt to check the derailleur hanger for perfect alignment—slightly off, and no matter how good the drivetrain or the driver, shifting perfection is gone.
    Last edited by wim; 04-03-2009 at 10:06 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by aristocompasso
    ... The only thing I think that needs improvement is the shifting with higher tension on the chain, like when pedalling vigorously on flats, when standing on the pedals or when climbing. Of course there is the need to learn how to shift well, but having what I consider decent skills, sometimes I still have to battle with the gears.
    ...
    It's not the bike. it's you.

    Gated shifting, Hyperglide, Powerglide, Ultradrive, all make possible the type of power shifting that experienced riders learn to avoid. Shifting under load is murder on chains, and undesireable for lots of other reasons.

    Learn to anticipate your gear requirements, and lighten up the pedal pressure slightly to help the shifting process, and to avoid the problem of power loss due to a mis-shift.

    Focusing on improving your part of the process will give you vastly more improvement compared to anything you can do with the hardware. Save your money, become a more skillful rider.
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  14. #14
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    Hmmm

    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench
    whoa...between you and the guy from NY that wants to re-engineer derailleur springs because he thinks he knows more about it than (campy/shimano/sram, take your pick)...these responses have some pretty weak advice.
    if your shifting is 'sticky' as NY was talking about, it's most likely cables/housing or like spunout said, the bb cable guide is dirty. there are many fixes that will work before trying to needlessly make a derailleur spring stronger.
    as for dinosaurs shifting, the (07)chorus most likely feels firmer because it's newer, and the springs/carrier ring aren't worn as much as the older (02)record. but, we don't know, because he hasn't provided any details about how either shifter has been maintained. the internals are the same, save for materials used to make record lighter. and then it sounds like your advice is to adjust the derailleur cable so it has too much tension...on purpose...and that it will 'work better after they have some miles on them'. wow...i hope you don't work in a shop and adjust shifting like that, and then accept money for the work.
    there is lots of good advice on this forum, and lots of bad. i hope the OP can sift thru the bad and make use of the good.


    As always, you seem to criticize other people suggestions instead of just offering your own tips. I can tell you know a lot about bikes. But you tend to shoot yourself in the foot by attacking other posters advice. If you have your own suggestions, then just say them.
    No, I don't work in a shop. And if you do, let me know so I can avoid it!

  15. #15
    Larry Lackapants
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    Spring tension increase will do nothing - will just make the cable-housings more "flexible"/increase friction vs a relatively stiff / frictionless environment with current springs. (for that you can check "pre - index RD which some of them have very strong springs - suntour vx, compared to current shimano)

    I think that RD pulleys and RD pulley float can dramatically improve shifting on existing systems. (if the cables+housings are already correctly routed and have the correct length).

    If anything else, I'd choose to use a pre-indexed RD, like the old shimano positron.
    This would eliminate any cable influence upon shifter position.
    I used once a bike with positron to commute on, and while lacking ramping on the cassette the thing shifted like a dream.
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  16. #16
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    Try replacing your cables and housings, and set the derailleurs exactly like the instructions direct. Then do not shift under power, learn to time a little pause on the cranks with the transfer of the chain on the cassette.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench
    whoa...between you and the guy from NY that wants to re-engineer derailleur springs because he thinks he knows more about it than (campy/shimano/sram, take your pick)...these responses have some pretty weak advice.
    if your shifting is 'sticky' as NY was talking about, it's most likely cables/housing or like spunout said, the bb cable guide is dirty. there are many fixes that will work before trying to needlessly make a derailleur spring stronger.

    the guy from NY responds


    For the record I don't think I know more than the folks at Campy/Shimano/Sram, but I am highly respected by the professionals in the industry, and am familiar with what I post about, having been Campy's east coast service tech for a number of years.

    I mis-read the OP as a hypothetical question, and my answer was likewise hypothetical.

    As the responses mentioned (including yours) cable friction is the most common cause of sluggish upshifting, and I won't tell you how many times I had to tell disappointed Campy owners to strip, clean & lube and/or replace their cables and housings.

    While that's a remedy, there's no reason that components have to be so finicky for the average user, who doesn't have the benefit of a full time mechanic to keep his bike in tip-top shape. A bit of added spring tension would make the RD upshift more positive and buy a degree of forgiveness in cable friction. There would be a slight cost in added finger strength required, which could be mitigated by changing the lever's counterbalance spring.

    Again, it isn't only about how equipment performs when brand new or in perfect condition, but also how equipment performs in the less than ideal real world most of us live and ride in.
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  18. #18
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinosaur
    As always, you seem to criticize other people suggestions instead of just offering your own tips. I can tell you know a lot about bikes. But you tend to shoot yourself in the foot by attacking other posters advice. If you have your own suggestions, then just say them.
    No, I don't work in a shop. And if you do, let me know so I can avoid it!
    sorry man, the good tips were already offered up, as i mentioned. i was hoping the OP wouldn't mis-adjust his derailleur by over tightening the cable and then waiting for it to somehow stretch itself into proper adjustment.
    i see people post advice on this forum on a daily basis that ranges from inexperienced guessing to plain old wrong and i get sick of it. i know that there are vastly varying levels of experience on all forums, but if you don't know from experience what works and why, please don't lead someone w/ even less experience that's trying to learn down the wrong path.
    if you came into the shop i work at, you'd most likely get a completely different person that i seem to be on the forum...mainly because you'd be smart enough to bring the bike into a shop rather than try to do something you didn't know how to do. i don't have to deal w/ customers that have virtually no professional experience trying to repair things (well...sometimes i do), or trying to teach others what may or may not be the correct methods. generally i'm a pretty happy, pleasant guy when i'm at work...you'd be surprised.
    i work for some bike racers...
    2013 Trek Madone 5.9 w/ '12 SRAM Red
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    oh, those belong in another forum

  19. #19
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    No harm

    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench
    sorry man, the good tips were already offered up, as i mentioned. i was hoping the OP wouldn't mis-adjust his derailleur by over tightening the cable and then waiting for it to somehow stretch itself into proper adjustment.
    i see people post advice on this forum on a daily basis that ranges from inexperienced guessing to plain old wrong and i get sick of it. i know that there are vastly varying levels of experience on all forums, but if you don't know from experience what works and why, please don't lead someone w/ even less experience that's trying to learn down the wrong path.
    if you came into the shop i work at, you'd most likely get a completely different person that i seem to be on the forum...mainly because you'd be smart enough to bring the bike into a shop rather than try to do something you didn't know how to do. i don't have to deal w/ customers that have virtually no professional experience trying to repair things (well...sometimes i do), or trying to teach others what may or may not be the correct methods. generally i'm a pretty happy, pleasant guy when i'm at work...you'd be surprised.
    Part of it is my fault as I did not completely explain myself. I know that cable tension will have an effect on shifting. I do most of my own wrenching (simple things). I'm obviously not a pro mechanic. Perhaps the best thing for you to do is just make your own post instead of criticizing what someone else has suggested. It takes away from your advice. I don't usually take stuff on this forum personal, I have been here since almost the beginning and have seen a lot of folks come and go. When I ask a question I look for answers from certain people as they are usually dead-on. Maybe you could be one of those.

  20. #20
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    +1 - IMHO Firmer is better

    I too find the really light action of "modern" Shimano a bit off-putting. It makes sense that tighter springs would produce crisper results. They would probably also produce quicker wear on all components in the system.

    My limited experience (a couple of short rides) with "modern" Campy tells me their stuff has a much firmer feel. As a result, I am considering Campy for my next bike. I do not have any experience with Sram so I cannot comment there.

    Bottom line, as far as I can tell, all of the "modern" stuff works just fine as long as you keep it clean, lubed, and change the cables and housing regularly.
    The avatar is not me; just cool and suitably old skool.

  21. #21
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    wow, never expected this to get this personal. I appreciate some of you trying to protect me from "bad" advices, but i'm already a big man and can sort things out from what I read.

    also, in my second post I mentioned considering the cables are "static" because obviously the change in lenght will lead to the need of subsequent adjustments.
    I'd like to thank your recommendations on how to drop force on pedals while shifting. I realize I still need to improve my technique. In a car it's much easier.
    I honestly thought that the higher end campagnolo groups would address these and other issues, I mean to justify the pricing differences, so it all comes down to durability and weight... ok.

  22. #22
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    Other sources..

    Quote Originally Posted by aristocompasso
    wow, never expected this to get this personal. I appreciate some of you trying to protect me from "bad" advices, but i'm already a big man and can sort things out from what I read.

    also, in my second post I mentioned considering the cables are "static" because obviously the change in lenght will lead to the need of subsequent adjustments.
    I'd like to thank your recommendations on how to drop force on pedals while shifting. I realize I still need to improve my technique. In a car it's much easier.
    I honestly thought that the higher end campagnolo groups would address these and other issues, I mean to justify the pricing differences, so it all comes down to durability and weight... ok.

    Get a good book on bike maintenance, such as Zinn & The Art Of Road Bike Maintenance. Another good source is the Park tool website http://www.parktool.com/repair/

    Sometimes I will get stuck when I am working on my bike and get on the Park website or drag the Zinn book into my garage. I need something right there alongside me that I can read with simple instructions.

    Don't worry about creating arguments. It's just the internet, it's not real life. I've met a few folks that I have corresponded with and they are quite different that I imagined.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by aristocompasso
    wow, never expected this to get this personal....


    I'd like to thank your recommendations on how to drop force on pedals while shifting. I realize I still need to improve my technique. In a car it's much easier.
    .
    Don't worry it isn't personal, you're just an anomous poster on the internet. What appears personal is simply a reflection of what happens when 10 knowledgeable bike people discuss a technical problem --- you get 11 opinions.

    Regrding learning to shift, it's easier to learn than to explain. Simply try to anticipate required downshifts so you're not already having to stand on the pedals, You mentioned cars, it's sort of like downshifting before the rpms drop and the engine is chugging. Also, reducing pedal force is simply a bit of mind control, Think about how you relax slightly when getting ready to coast, or as you slow down coming to a stoplight.

    I won't compare across brands, but all Campy cassetttes share identical spacing and shift gates, and all their chains are shaped the same. So the shift response charcteristics are pretty close across their entire line. More money buys lighter, more durable parts, but they ride and shift similarly.

    I hope we all helped you save your dough, so you can get the other stuff you want.
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